First the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine orders veteran and fraternal organizations to cease operating electronic raffle games because he claims they are a form of illegal gambling;
Then a legal advisor tells these organizations to continue operating the e-raffles while negotiations with state lawmakers are ongoing;
Then the executive director of the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition says that VFW posts and fraternal organizations will comply with the attorney general’s order to shut down e-raffle games, claiming the legal advisor had no authority to speak on behalf of his organizations;
Then the Ohio Lottery Commission surprises everyone and says they will supply veteran and fraternal organizations with 1,200 multipurpose ‘next generation machines’ that would be legal under Ohio law. Under the Ohio Lottery deal, for the first 3 years the charities and Intralot, who would supply the machines, would split 85% of the proceeds. The other 15% would go to the state Lottery Profits Education Fund. As equipment and set-up costs decline over time, the percentage of funds going to the state education fund would increase. Under this deal, it is projected Intralot would initially receive 60% of the 85%, which is projected at $13 million. Veteran and fraternal organizations were not sure they would be interested in such a deal, partly because the projected proceeds would barely cover their costs;
The latest in this saga was the introduction of HB 325, which would allow charitable video bingo games by veterans, fraternal and sporting organizations.
Charitable organizations and charitable video bingo distributors would be required to obtain a license from the attorney general’s office;
Charitable video bingo would be defined as “a form of bingo played in an electronic environment in which a participant wins if the participant’s charitable video bingo ticket contains a number or a combination of numbers or symbols that was designated in advance of the game as a winning combination.”